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Managing Projects with GNU Make (Nutshell Handbooks) Paperback – November 26, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0596006105 ISBN-10: 0596006101 Edition: 3rd

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

The Power of GNU make for Building Anything

About the Author

Robert Mecklenburg began using Unix as a student in 1977 and has been programming professionally for 23 years. His make experience started in 1982 at NASA with Unix version 7. Robert received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Utah in 1991. Since then, he has worked in many fields ranging from mechanical CAD to bioinformatics, and he brings his extensive experience in C++, Java, and Lisp to bear on the problems of project management with make.

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Product Details

  • Series: Nutshell Handbooks
  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 3 edition (November 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596006101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596006105
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This is a good book if you already know a basic use of "make".
Amazon Customer
The frustration caused by this lack of explicitness for his examples is the reason I give this book one star.
K.
Where I think the book really goes off track is in trying to shoehorn too many things into GNU Make.
John Graham-Cumming

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 74 people found the following review helpful By John Graham-Cumming on May 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
I write a lot of Makefiles. In fact, I write a lot of Makefiles using

GNU Make and finally there's a book to complement the Free Software

Foundation's excellent GNU Make user guide. Also, finally, O'Reilly

has updated what must have been the worst book in their entire line

up: "Managing Projects with make"

Robert Mecklenburg's "Managing Project with GNU Make" is a must have

book if you end up writing or maintaining GNU Make Makefiles with more

than 100 lines in them. You don't need it if all your Makefiles are

created using ./configure, but every serious Makefile hacker should

read this book.

That's not to say that the book is perfect. Far from it. I was

annoyed while reading the book by the author's frequent, annoying

small errors (e.g. on p. 58 the author states that CURDIR contains the

argument of --include-dir when in fact it contains the full path of

the directory where GNU Make is looking for Makefiles) and over use of

the $(eval) (more on $(eval) below). In fact, the number of errors in

the book were surprising for an O'Reilly tome and it looks like the

edition could use a good proof-reading. I've sent in a detailed list

to the O'Reilly folks but nothing appears on their Errata web site

yet.

The section that describes the new $(eval) and $(value) functions

available since GNU Make 3.80 is excellent (pp. 82-86). And the book

contains a good discussion of the problems inherent in using recursive

make (pp. 108-116) and how to implement a non-recursive make

(pp. 117-123).
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By K. on December 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have almost no experience with writing makefiles. All I've done is edit existing makefiles until they work without really knowing what I am doing. I bought this book to fill in my knowledge. There seems to be a lot of information in this book. Unfortunately, there is a lot of information not in the book that makes it difficult to follow his examples. For example, on p. 5 there is text in there that makes up the file 'lexer.l', but the author doesn't say this. He simply puts that text on the page, calls it a 'scanner', then I see something called 'lexer.l' in the makefile he is using. It took me a while to figure out that the 10 or so lines of text he called a 'scanner' was in fact 'lexer.l'.

The author continually does this for at least the first 20 pages, where it took me hours to figure out what files he used and what were supposed to be in the files. This should have only taken me as long as it takes to type the files into the computer. There are supposed to be five files: counter.h lexer.h count_words.c counter.c and lexer.l. I don't understand why the auther cannot simply say "the text below define *.*", then write it out, instead of making the reader guess at what he is talking about. On page 20 he talks about refactoring the 'main' program, but what he really means is creating a new file called 'counter.c' not rewriting the 'main' program in 'count_words.c'.

It's too bad the author has decided to write in such an ambiguous style because his explainations of make features are very good, unfortunately, I can't verify this using his examples because he thinks his readers can read his mind.

The frustration caused by this lack of explicitness for his examples is the reason I give this book one star.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brussels Lout on September 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I do not recommend this book if you are new to gmake. It breaks the unwritten golden rule that new concepts should not be introduced using more advanced concepts not introduced until later. Makes sense doesn't it? Yet this book does it all the time. I found myself many times having to skip forward to look something up, only to have to skip forward again to look something else up. And by that time I needed knowledge of all the material skipped. Chicken and egg. There's a hole in my bucket.

I found it very frustrating.

Moreover, you will need to be proficient in sed and awk to understand some important examples. You will need familiarity with lexer.

This book may serve as a look-up manual for someone already familiar with make. But if you want to learn the tool for the first time, this is not a good place to start.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Smith on July 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Overall the book presents all the information you need to start using make - which is a lot of information. However, the writing style used when he's presenting sections that are supposed to be "follow along", leave a lot of holes and become tedious to figure out.

There's also a lot of "but we'll touch on that later" - which puts you in the position of having to read through a part, knowing that he'll explain something better later in the book, which will for the moment, leave you wondering what it is he's talking about. Unfortunately he does this a lot, even right in the middle of a follow along example. Arg.

I give it three stars because there aren't any other make books on make. This book does cover a lot of information and will definitely help you get started with make. Just don't expect to breeze through it without re-reading pieces of it 5 or 6 times. And definitely make sure you look at the errata for corrections.
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